The rugged west coast of Ireland will sweep you off your feet – quite literally. As I stood upon the 200 metre high Cliffs of Moher, winds were howling by at 80 kilometres per hour, sweeping up stones, sticks, leaves and almost me. The sky was dark with heavy clouds and the sea was wild crashing at the foot of the cliff and shooting foam up and back over the cliffs. The true power and intensity of nature was on display.
The Cliffs of Moher are on the edge of The Burren, a national park quite different from the rolling green hills of other areas. In Irish, it means a stony or rocky place and that is certainly what it is, the most extensive area of limestone pavement in Europe. Shaped by forces of nature over centuries it has a rugged beauty and a sad history when a famine relief road was built by peasants when the potato crop failed. It also has a history of goat farming from the 1800s, providing an alternative food source.
Today goat’s milk and goat’s cheese are increasingly available and I have long been a fan of goat meat. So I decided to make a luxury version of an Irish stew, using goat. Goat meat is much leaner than lamb and has a distinct flavour. The key to this dish is to stew the meat for a least an hour, preferably longer, to ensure the meat is tender and falling off your fork. At this time of year, this dish is perfect as it uses winter vegetables and will certainly keep you warm as the temperature falls.
Luxe “Irish stew” of goat
Irish stew is traditionally made of lamb, potatoes and onions and with long, slow cooking the potatoes start to disintegrate and thicken the broth. However, I learned when I was in The Burren, that there is a long tradition of goats in Ireland, beginning as long ago as the great Irish potato famine in 17th. Therefore when I was in the area I decided to make a deluxe version of Irish stew using goat. You could also use lamb.
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 1 – 2 hours
1 shoulder (or leg) of goat, cut into chunks (approx 1.2kilos)
¼ cup (35g) plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60ml) rapeseed or olive oil
1 litre (4 cups) chicken or lamb stock
6 cloves garlic
20 (800g) baby new potatoes
1 bunch (400g) Dutch carrots, peeled
4 small (480g) parsnips, peeled
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
Freshly chopped parsley
1. Toss goat in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. (A plastic bag works well to keep the hands clean).
2. Heat one tablespoon (20ml) oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add half the meat and brown all over, turning frequently. Remove. Repeat with another tablespoon (20ml) oil and remaining meat. Remove. Deglaze the frying pan with stock, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom which add to the flavour of the sauce.
3. Heat a large pot suitable for stove top or oven over medium high heat. Add remaining tablespoon (20ml) oil. Add garlic cloves and cook, stirring continuously until they start to brown.
Layer meat, potatoes, carrots, parsnip and green onions on top of the garlic. Pour over stock from frying pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until goat is tender. (Cooking time will depend on the age of the goat and also if it is wild or farmed. If it requires very long cooking remove the vegetables after an hour and then return after the goat is tender to warm through).
4. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with a glass of Guinness.
Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland on Lifestyle FOOD
Dates and times:
Monday 24 June at 7:30pm and 11:30pm
Saturday 29 June at 11:00am
Sunday 30 June at 11:30pm
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Lyndey Milan, Australian home cook hero, combines a thirst for life and a sense of fun with a love of good food and sparkling shiraz. A familiar face on television and in print, she been instrumental in changing the way Australians think and feel about food and wine for over thirty years.